Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Topps Kimball Champions #KC-20 Roy Halladay

It's the night before the first game of the Phillies' 2011 season and Roy Halladay is calm, cool and collected.  And, quite fortuitously, I'm feeling a little (cough, cough) under the weather and I may need to just take a day tomorrow to recoup on my couch.

To top off the good vibes going around, I came home from work today to find an envelope waiting for me containing a wonderful assortment of 2011 Topps Phillies cards from the West Coast.  Thanks to Dan and these Phillies cards from The Other World, I'm many steps closer to my 2011 Topps Phillies master set.

Go Phils!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011 Chachi Almost #1 Luis Castillo

Pirates 4, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 35 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 30th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies wrapped up their exhibition season with a lazy afternoon loss against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.

What It Means:  It means the games start counting now!  The Phillies finished the spring with an impressive 21-14 record, which means absolutely nothing.  As of right now, everyone is 0-0 and tied for first place.

Top Hitters:  The Phillies managed only two hits - a Jimmy Rollins single in the first and a Pete Orr triple in the ninth.

Top Pitchers:  Starters Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton each pitched three innings, with Blanton faring better than Hamels.  Hamels was tagged for two runs on four hits, while Blanton allowed just a run on four hits.  Both pitchers struck out three.

Featured Card:  In what could be the only card in this particular 2011 Chachi insert set, I'm featuring short-timer Luis Castillo, who was released this afternoon.  (I was going to call the set the 2011 Chachi Close But . . . but I like the Chachi Almost moniker better.)  Castillo made it into seven games with the Phillies this spring, hitting .273 (6 for 22) with four walks, two strikeouts and a stolen base.  I echo the sentiment expressed by one of my favorite Phillies' blogs, Beerleaguer, who perfectly sums up the fans' feelings towards Castillo.  Thankfully, this experiment is over.

Other Stuff:  Jamie Moyer will be an analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight.  To be honest, I haven't watched much Baseball Tonight since the MLB Network came on the scene.  Maybe I'll have to switch over some nights now, especially those nights when Harold Reynolds is getting to me.

Transactions:  The first transaction of the day was the release of Castillo.  Then, Rule 5 draft pick Michael Martinez was informed he had made the team and he wouldn't be offered back to the Nationals.  Finally, Orr also made the team, meaning Delwyn Young will start the season at AAA Lehigh Valley.  Orr has been added to the team's 40-man roster.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Topps Opening Day Stadium Lights #UL-6 Chase Utley

Phillies 8, Pirates 5
Spring Training Game 34 - Tuesday Night, March 29th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Baseball returned to South Philly as the Phillies defeated the Pirates, 8-5, behind new double play combo Jimmy Rollins and Luis Castillo.

What It Means:  Since 2004, the Phillies have hosted two "On-Deck Series" games at Citizens Bank Park before the start of the regular season.  Back in 2004, the games were almost a necessity as the team was working out more than a few last minute kinks within their new ballpark.  Now, the two games seem like a thinly veiled money grab.  Game time temperatures were in the 40's, but the paid attendance was still almost 43,000 fans.

Top Hitters:  Castillo enjoyed a multi-hit game and Rollins drove in a pair.  Both infielders also stole a base.  Ben Francisco hit his fifth home run of the spring.

Top Pitchers:  Could Michael Stutes usurp David Herndon for the final bullpen spot?  The righty was brought in to close the game out in the ninth and he struck out the side.

Featured Card:  Sadly, Chase Utley didn't actually get to enjoy the first night game of 2011.  This insert card from Topps Opening Day actually glows in the dark and is one of the cooler insert sets from the past few years.  The set is especially popular with Night Owls.

Other Stuff:  Roy Oswalt was roughed up a little in his final spring start, allowing five runs in his four innings of work . . . It was announced today that Brad Lidge will miss at least the first few months of the season with a strained rotator cuff.  He'll be completely shut down for the next three to six weeks.  Charlie Manuel made some pre-game comments pretty much naming Jose Contreras as the team's new closer and Francisco as the every day right fielder . . . Apparently Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins worked a few innings behind one of the concession stands during the game, selling soft pretzels.

Transactions:  Matt Rizzotti was outrighted off the Phillies 40-man roster, most likely in order to open a spot for Castillo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2010 Phillies Team Issue #10 Ben Francisco

Phillies 7, Astros 6
Spring Training Game 33 - Monday Afternoon, March 28th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  In the final Florida Spring Training game of 2011, Ben Francisco's three-run home run provided just enough cushion as the Phillies defeated the Astros, 7-6.

What It Means:  Two things conspired to keep most of the regulars off the field today.  First, I'm guessing neither team wanted to tip its hand as these teams meet up for real on Friday afternoon.  The box scores are littered with guys making only their first or second appearance in a big league game this spring.  I didn't even remember Nate Bump was in the Phillies' system until his name popped up as the starting pitcher for today's game.  Second, the weather in Florida was wet and crappy.  No need to risk injury in one of the last exhibition games of the spring.

Top Hitters:  The big hits were Shane Victorino's two-run single in the first, an RBI-double from Raul Ibanez in the third and Francisco's home run in the fifth.

Top Pitchers:  Bump pitched five effective innings, allowing a run on eight hits.

Featured Card:  I'd love to feature a 2011 Ben Francisco card, but there aren't any.  Francisco, the team's new regular right fielder, has yet to be featured on a 2011 baseball card and here's hoping Topps fixes that problem with one of upcoming releases.

Other Stuff:  Cliff Lee pitched in a minor league game instead of facing the Astros.  Lee is the scheduled starter against the Astros on Saturday night . . . Chase Utley spoke with reporters for the first time in a few weeks this afternoon.  He didn't really give us a whole lot, other than he hopes to be activated prior to the All-Star break.  He won't be placed on the 60-day disabled list, which means the team is hopeful he'll return before June.

2010 Chachi #72 Roy Halladay HL

This post has been in my draft folder since November, back when my PC starting flaking out on me.  I didn't actually create the card until this past weekend.  The best part is the final sentence.  Little did I know at the time that the Phillies would be signing free agent Cliff Lee in a little less than a month, and I'd make a 2010 Chachi card to commemorate the signing.  The checklist card would have to wait until card #74.

On Tuesday, Roy Halladay was named the 2010 National League Cy Young award winner.  It was an unanimous decision by the voters.  It was Halladay's second Cy Young award, as he first won the award back in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He became the fifth pitcher in history - along with Gaylord Perry, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez - to win the award in both leagues.

In 33 starts, Halladay compiled a record of 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA.  He led the National League in wins, complete games (9), shutouts (4) and innings pitched (250.2) and he threw the game's 20th perfect game on May 29th.  He was second in the league in strikeouts (219).  His teammate Roy Oswalt finished sixth in the voting while, surprisingly, Cole Hamels did not receive any votes.  Former Phillie Brett Myers received one fourth place vote.

Halladay became the fourth Phillies to win the Cy Young, joining Steve Carlton (1972, 1977, 1980 and 1982), John Denny (1983) and Steve Bedrosian (1987).  He receives card #72 in this year's Chachi set, meaning that the 2010 set is just about wrapped up.  Barring some huge Phillies event between now and New Year's Eve, the final card in this year's set will be #73 - the all-important checklist card.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2010 Chachi #57 Victory Leaders - Roy Halladay & Cole Hamels

Phillies 6, Braves 1
Spring Training Game 32 - Sunday Afternoon, March 27th in Lake Buena Vista

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies went to Disney World and came away with a win against the Braves, thanks to a fine performance from Roy Halladay and home runs from Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard.

What It Means:  It means Halladay is ready for the season to start.

Top Hitters:  Ibanez, Howard and Ben Francisco each had two hits a piece and Halladay contributed a two-run single in the second.  The man is just amazing.

Top Pitchers:  Halladay pitched three more scoreless innings, ending the spring with a 4-0 record and a 0.42 ERA.

Featured Card:  Halladay's spring is done and he'll begin his quest to defend his National League Cy Young Award this Friday afternoon against the Astros.  In 2010, he led the league with 21 wins.  Cole Hamels was a distant second on the team with 12 wins, although he should have had at least four or five more.  Rounding out the top five on the Phillies were Kyle Kendrick (11), Joe Blanton (9) and Jamie Moyer (9).

Other Stuff:  Injured closer Brad Lidge will travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to have an MRI on his shoulder.

Transactions:  Three more players were re-assigned to minor league camp today - catchers Tuffy Gosewisch and Dane Sardinha and infielder-outfielder Josh Barfield.  Gosewisch and Sardinha are next in line for a recall should the team need a third catcher.  Barfield was squeezed out with the signing of Luis Castillo and his lackluster defensive performance didn't help much either.

2010 Chachi #74 Checklist

At long last, the 2010 Chachi set has been completed, and here's the final checklist to prove it.  Thanks to a loving wife and some free time on Saturday afternoon, I found the time to create the final cards for the 2010 set.  I hope to post the remaining cards between now and the start of the regular season on Friday.

I had fun using the designs from the 1974 Topps set as a template, and I was actually able to create backs for most of the cards in the set.  As revealed a few months ago, the 2011 Chachi set will borrow its design from the 1983 Topps set, and I'm happy to report that production is already well under way.

At least one insert set is planned this year, as I'll be making Super Veteran cards along the way for those players who have been around for a little while.  However, I won't be making backs for the cards this year, as making backs for each of these custom cards is both time-consuming and quite honestly, a little boring.

And yes, I am extremely excited about the start of the 2011 season.  Play ball!

P.S.  It's never too soon for the 2012 Chachi Planning Committee to hold its first meeting.  I don't want to start any rumors, but we've been looking through our 1971 and 1985 Topps sets a lot recently.

1961 Topps Phillies

1961 Topps #468, #93, #433 and #502
The 1961 Phillies lost 107 games in 1961, their highest loss total since losing 108 games in 1945.  Fortunately, they haven't come close to matching that loss total since.  It's almost fitting that perhaps the drabbest baseball card set in Topps' 60-year history features cards of the worst Phillies team of the past 60 years.

The Set
1961 Topps #468 (Back)
Number of cards in the set:  The set is numbered to 589, but cards 426, 587 and 588 were never issued.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  While the 1960 Topps set seems classic with an innovative design, the 1961 Topps set seems dull with an extremely minimalist design.  However, I'd still chose this set over the 1957 Topps set solely for the first ever league leader cards and checklists included within the set.
Notable competition:  Post issued a 200-card set with its cereal boxes, including 10 Phillies cards.

1961 Phillies
Record and finish:  47-107, dead last in the National League, 46 games behind the first place Reds, and 17 games behind the 7th place Cubs.
Key players:  Don Demeter was acquired from the Dodgers in May, and he'd lead the team in home runs (20) and RBIs (68).  Johnny Callison (.266, 9 home runs, 47 RBIs) and Tony Gonzalez (.277, 12 home runs, 58 RBIs) didn't have great years, but their unremarkable stats were the best the offense had to offer.  Pancho Herrera hit 13 home runs and drove in 51 runs, but he also struck out 120 times.  Art Mahaffey led the pitching staff with 11 wins, but he also lost 19.  The next two starters with the most wins were John Buzhardt and Chris Short who each won 6 games.  Robin Roberts played in his last season with the Phillies, going 1-10 with a 5.58 ERA.
Key events:  The '61 Phillies put the Ug in Ugly.  They lost a record straight 23 games in a row.  The Orioles lost 21 games to start the 1988 season, but no other team has even come close to matching the futility of the '61 Phillies club.

1961 Topps #20, #103, #299 and #411
1961 Phillies in 1961 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 30 cards in a 1961 Topps Phillies team set.  The tally so far - 65 Topps Phillies cards from the '60s and 238 Topps Phillies cards from 1951 to 1961.
Who’s in:  24 cards feature players who actually suited up with the Phillies in 1961.  The other six cards feature three guys who didn't play with the team that year (Al Neiger, Tep Lepcio and Ruben Gomez), a manager card for Gene Mauch, a team card and a card for 1950 National League MVP Jim Konstanty.  Topps featured a subset of league MVPs from 1950 through 1960 on cards 471 through 486.

1961 Topps #3, #219, #359 and #479
Who’s out:  Third baseman Charley Smith, acquired from the Dodgers in May with Demeter for Turk Farrell and Joe Koppe got left out of the set completely.  Relievers Jack Baldschun (65 games, 503 with 3 saves) and Ken Lehman (41 games, 1-1) saw significant time out of the bullpen but neither appear in the set.  And Short (6-12 in 39 games with a 5.94 ERA) will be a recurring name on this list, as he didn't have his first Topps card until 1967.
Phillies on other teams:  Demeter appears as a Dodger on card #23 and outfielder Wes Covington (see below) appears as a Brave on card #296.  Farrell appears as a Dodger on card #522 although he's sporting a Phillies hat.  Finally, Elmer Valo wrapped up his 20-year career with 50 games with the Phils, mostly as a pinch-hitter.  He appears with the Twins on card #186 and the Phillies picked him up following his release from the Twins in June.
What’s he doing here:  Neiger is perhaps the biggest stretch, especially since his card indicates he's a "1961 Rookie" within a gold star.  He pitched in six games with the Phillies in 1960.
Cards that never were candidates:  Smith, Demeter, Covington, Baldschun, Lehman and Short.
Favorite Phillies card:  I'll go with the rookie card of one Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman, although I also really like Roberts' final card with the Phillies as an active player.

2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #97, 2010 Topps Heritage #154, #479 and #78
Other Stuff
Recycled:  Topps used this design for its 2010 Heritage set, and I've featured most of the Phillies cards in previous posts.
Blogs/Websites:  The keeper of the Sports Card Blogroll, JayBee, has created the Topps 300.  Basically, this is his attempt to compile the 300 best baseball cards from Topps' sixty year history, five cards per set.  He's chosen some great cards, and the 1961 proposed representatives can be found here.
Did You Know?: Wes Covington was a busy man in 1961.  In May, the White Sox selected him off waivers from the Braves.  In June, the White Sox included him in an eight-player trade with the Athletics.  In July, the Athletics traded him to the Phillies, where he'd spend the next 4 1/2 seasons.  He played in 101 games in 1961 as follows - 9 with the Braves, 22 with the White Sox, 17 with the Athletics and 57 with the Phillies.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 Topps Opening Day #102 Carlos Ruiz

Blue Jays 7, Phillies 6
Spring Training Game 30 - Saturday Afternoon in Clearwater

Tigers 3, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 31 - Saturday Afternoon in Lakeland

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies dropped both split squad games this afternoon, despite fine performances from Ryan Feierabend in Lakeland and Carlos Ruiz in Clearwater.

What It Means:  Amazingly enough, there are just four more Spring Training games - two more in Florida and two up at Citizens Bank Park as part of the On-Deck Series with the Pirates.

Top Hitters:  Ross Gload, Brian Schneider and Cory Sullivan had multi-hit games in Lakeland.  Ruiz hit a two-run home run, in first of the spring, in Clearwater.

Top Pitchers:  Antonio Bastardo pitched another scoreless 1 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.08, while Michael Stutes, destined for Lehigh Valley, pitched a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 0.90.

Featured Card:  I'm showing a little more Opening Day love with this Chooch card.  I'm assuming he's following the path of a fly ball that's about to drop in for hit.

Other Stuff:  With two hits and a walk today, Luis Castillo has now reached base in six of his last nine plate appearances.

Transactions:  The Phillies optioned Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski this morning, all but locking up roster spots for Bastardo and David Herndon.  The move leaves 35 players in camp - 36 if you count Castillo.  However, factoring in that Chase Utley, Brad Lidge, Domonic Brown, Brian Bocock and Brian Schlitter will all most likely begin the year on the DL, the active roster is now down to 31 players.

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 Topps Opening Day #94 Jimmy Rollins

Phillies 3, Braves 1
Spring Training Game 29 - Friday Afternoon, March 25th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies rode Jimmy Rollins' two-run home run and Joe Blanton's fine pitching performance to a 3-1 victory over the split squad Braves.

What It Means:  Rollins, who started the spring dreadfully slow, has quietly raised his average to .250.  Manager Charlie Manuel has been trying Rollins in the 3-hole as the skipper continues to tinker with the Chase Utley-less line-up.

Top Hitters:  Rollins scored again in the third when Ryan Howard's triple drove him in.

Top Pitchers:  Blanton pitched six scoreless innings while striking out four.  Jose Contreras struck out two in the ninth on his way to his first save of the spring.

Featured Card:  This time next week, Opening 2011 will be in the books as the Phils face off against the Astros at 1:05 at Citizens Bank Park.  In honor of the big day being a week away, I'm presenting Rollins' Topps Opening Day card, which looks a lot like his regular Topps card, but with less shine.

Other Stuff:  It was reported earlier today that closer Brad Lidge would most likely be joining Utley on the disabled list to start the season.  Lidge has pain in the back of his right shoulder, which is a new injury from the sore biceps he's been nursing all spring.  Ryan Madson is the most likely candidate to step into the closer's role to start the season, although Contreras could see some ninth inning time as well . . . Luis Castillo recorded his first hit in a Phillies uniform and walked twice . . . Mike Sweeney signed a one-day contract with the Royals and officially announced his retirement today.  Sweeney joined the Phillies last August and appeared in 26 games with the team, hitting .231 with two home runs.  His final big league at-bat came in Game 2 of last year's NLDS when he hit a pinch-single off the Reds' Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2004 Bazooka Stand-Ups #2 Jim Thome

Twins 7, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 28 - Thursday Afternoon, March 24th

One Sentence Summary:  Cole Hamels struggled for the third straight outing, as the Twins defeated the Phils, 7-3.

What It Means:  Hamels allowed six runs on nine hits in his 6 2/3 innings of work, but he did strike out seven.  His spring ERA is now up to 6.75.  Continuing with the bad news, Brad Lidge allowed a run on two hits and a walk in his 2/3 of an inning, raising his ERA to 9.53.

Top Hitters:  Ross Gload and Carlos Ruiz each had multi-hit games, with Gload now sporting a .353 average.  Dane Sardinha hit a two-run double in the eighth.

Top Pitchers:  Mike Zagurski inherited a bases loaded situation from Lidge with two outs in the ninth, but he managed to strike out the final batter to escape further damage.

Featured Card:  Twins DH Jim Thome went one for three this afternoon against the Phillies.  This past January, Thome signed a one-year deal to return to the Twins and he's just eleven home runs away from the 600-home run club.  Thome was a fan favorite during his short stay in Philly, and I'd love to see him reach this milestone and guarantee his spot in Cooperstown.  This card is from 2004 - the year Thome hit home run number 400 while with the Phillies.  Thome was featured on a ton of insert cards in 2004, and this one, an homage to the old Topps Stand-Up cards, is one of my favorites.

Other Stuff:  The damage against Hamels may have been minimized if third baseman Michael Martinez had been wearing his sunglasses instead of having them resting on the brim of his hat in the fourth.  Martinez lost a pop up in the sun which opened the door to a three-run inning from the Twins . . . Luis Castillo is now 0 for 8 in his two games with the Phillies.

Collecting 2011 Topps Heritage Phillies Cards

2011 Topps Heritage #77
The 2011 Topps Heritage set has been out for a few weeks now, and the initial euphoria I felt at opening a new Topps product has slowly waned.  However, it did take a while to convince the logical and rational side of my brain that this was not a set I should collect.  It's a shame really.  If Topps didn't throw so many short-prints and gimmicks and inserts into the set, this would be a no-brainer in terms of a set I'd gladly buy two or three (or four) boxes and gleefully sort the cards and cross off numbers on my checklist.

But people continue to buy cases of the stuff to find the latest gimmick card, so why should Topps mess with the formula?  Personally, I'd like to see a true "heritage" set with nothing but non-short-printed base cards in a pack and maybe a lone insert set found only in rack packs.  Just like the good old days.  And bring back the gum.

While I'm not collecting a master set, I'm going to try my hand at collecting a master Phillies set.  I've updated my 2011 Phillies Wantlist, with a list of cards I'd like to add to my collection.  Collecting the stamp cards may be a little ambitious, as each of these cards is numbered to just 62 copies.  I'm also not that enamored with the various "tinted" cards - blue, green and red - that can found for three of the Phillies cards in the set (#111 Lidge, #146 Polanco and #157 Victorino).

There are three high-end Phillies inserts within the set, and I've decided to pursue one of them.  As much as I'd like to own the Clubhouse Collections Dual Relics card featuring Roy Halladay and Bob Gibson, or the Real One Dual Autographs card featuring Chase Utley and Stan Musial, those two cards are slightly outside my price range.  However, I would like to track down one of the '62 Mint cards, which features Jamie Moyer on a card with an actual 1962 penny.  It's a cool concept, and it's possible this could be one of Moyer's last baseball cards as an active player.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2010 Bowman Platinum #78 Roy Oswalt

Rays 4, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 27 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 23rd in Port Charlotte

One Sentence Summary:  The game was inconsequential after a scary moment in the fourth when Roy Oswalt was smoked in the back of the neck by a screaming liner off the bat of Manny Ramirez.

What It Means:  Hopefully it just means a nasty bruise on Oswalt's neck and nothing else.  X-rays were negative.

Top Hitters:  Rule 5 selection Michael Martinez had two more hits to raise his spring average to .293.  It's getting close to decision time on Martinez.  He either has to remain on the Phillies roster all season or be shipped back to the Nationals.

Top Pitchers:  And speaking of Rule 5 players, David Herndon entered the game after Oswalt had to leave with his injury.  He pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two.

Featured Card:  This is Oswalt's card from the late-2010 release of Bowman Platinum.  Bowman Platinum is a high end set that exists solely to bury patch and autograph and 1/1 cards deep in packs of base set cards that are very shiny, but usually fairly boring.  I picked up the Phillies team set off eBay only because it came with another Phillies team set that I actually wanted.  On the plus side, this is one of the few 2010 baseball cards featuring Oswalt with the Phillies.

Other Stuff:  The Luis Castillo Experiment officially began today, and the potential opening day second baseman (wearing #3) went 0 for 4.

2011 Topps #103 Cliff Lee

Phillies 5, Blue Jays 4
Spring Training Game 26 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 22nd in Dunedin

One Sentence Summary:  Raul Ibanez' three-run home run and Cliff Lee's six strong innings led the Phils over the Blue Jays, 5-4.

What It Means:  Perhaps this is the start of more consistency from Lee.  Then again, who ever said that Spring Training performances actually mean anything for someone as established as Lee?

Top Hitters:  Ben Francisco went three for three to raise his average to .365 and Ibanez added two more hits to his solid spring performance.

Top Pitchers:  Lee allowed four hits and two runs in his six innings of work.

Featured Card:  This is Lee's base card from Topps Series 1, which could be his last card featuring him as a member of the Texas Rangers.  He's featured with the Phillies within the Topps Opening Day and Heritage sets.

Other Stuff:  The top news of the day was Luis Castillo's no-show to camp.  Citing a "miscommunication," the potential opening day second baseman (shudder) was originally pencilled into the line-up, but had to be scratched when it was evident he wasn't going to be in town.  Not a good start for a guy who has eight remaining spring games to prove he deserves the nod at second over Wilson Valdez.

2011 Topps Toppstown #TT-5 Roy Halladay

Phillies 4, Red Sox 1
Spring Training Game 25 - Monday Afternoon, March 21st in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  Roy Halladay appears ready for opening day as he pitched 7 2/3 strong innings against the Red Sox.

What It Means:  I've been traveling for work again, and it's been hard keeping up with the daily exploits of the Phillies given the limited Spring Training news contained with USA Today's sports section.  In any event, all indications are that Halladay pitched like Halladay, surrendering five hits and one run during his outing.

Top Hitters:  Josh Barfield, who could potentially be the odd man out now that the Phils have signed Luis Castillo, had a two-run single in the sixth.  Halladay broke up pitcher Jon Lester's no-hitter with two outs in the fifth.

Top Pitchers:  Halladay is now 3-0 with a 0.48 ERA this spring.  That's pretty good.  Ryan Madson recorded the four-out save.

Featured Card:  I've thought about trying to put together a "master" Phillies team set from this year's Topps releases, given the limited number of sets expected.  I'd steer clear from the high-end releases and 1/1 inserts, but collecting the base cards, inserts, memorabilia cards and even some of the parallels seems like an obtainable goal.  This is one of the Toppstown inserts from Topps Series 1.  If you're interested in the unused code on the back of the card, send me an e-mail or leave a comment, and I'll gladly send it to you.  I'll be updating my 2011 Phillies Wantlist shortly with my Topps Heritage needs.

Other Stuff:  In the fifth, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez had a scary collision in center, forcing Victorino from the game.  The collision left Victorino with a bloody nose and a black eye.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2009 Topps Heritage #302 Phillies Team

Yankees 8, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 24 - Sunday Afternoon, March 20th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  Jimmy Rollins' solo home run in the sixth was the sole highlight from Clearwater in a lopsided loss to the Yankees.

What It Means:  Nothing.  Not a darn thing.  It's Spring Training, so it's no big deal the offense managed only six hits all afternoon - three of them coming from Rollins.  It also doesn't matter that Joe Blanton looked pedestrian in his 6 1/3 innings of work, giving up four runs on eight hits while striking out two.

Top Hitters:  Rollins went three for three and Ryan Howard doubled.

Top Pitchers:  Um . . . We sure did have nice weather today, didn't we?

Featured Card:  I would have used Rollins' 2009 Topps Heritage card in this post, had I not already used it in a post from earlier today.  Instead, I'll go with the team card from the 2009 Topps Heritage set.

Other Stuff:  Bright House Field in Clearwater welcomed a record crowd of 10,909 fans this afternoon . . . Brad Lidge threw a bullpen session this morning, as he tries to overcome biceps problems . . . Manager Charlie Manuel publicly voiced his concern today over the openings at second base at right field with the start of the season just a few weeks away.  The assumption is that Ben Francisco will get most of the starts in right, with John Mayberry, Jr. and Ross Gload also filling in.  It's expected that Wilson Valdez will be the team's regular second baseman to start the season.  But, this just in . . .

Transactions:'s Jim Salisbury is reporting tonight the Phillies have signed former Met Luis Castillo to a minor league deal.  Mets fans across the nation are also reportedly celebrating the move.  I'm not so sure about this one.

1960 Topps Phillies

1960 Topps #264, #130, #17
I never gave much thought to the 1960 Topps set until Topps released its 2009 Heritage set borrowing the design from its 49-year-old predecessor.  I only recently realized how innovative the set truly is, especially in light of the lifeless set (in my opinion) that would follow in 1961.  Topps was rolling out the subsets in earnest now, including Sport Magazine Rookie Stars, manager cards, team cards, multi-player cards, Topps All-Star Rookies, World Series cards, floating head coaches cards, and Sport Magazine All-Stars.
1960 Topps #103, #302, #366
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  Similar to the prior year, there are 572 cards in a complete set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  It's horizontal.  This was the first time Topps had used a horizontal design for its entire base set since 1955, and (to date) it's also the last time.  The design features a full color portrait next to a black and white posed action shot.  In a way, it's kind of like the 1994 Upper Deck set's hip father.
Notable competition:  Leaf released a 144-card set, it's first baseball card release since 1948.  And Fleer released a 79-card set of Baseball Greats.

1960 Topps #226 and #466
1960 Phillies
Record and finish:  The team's 59-95 finish landed them in the basement of the National League for the second year in a row.
Key players:  Robin Roberts was 12-16 with a 4.02 ERA and closer Turk Farrell was 10-6 with a team leading 11 saves.  Tony Taylor, acquired from the Cubs in May, led the team with a .287 average.  Pancho Herrera hit 17 home runs with 71 RBIS, but he also set a National League record (at the time) with 136 strikeouts.  New Phillies Johnny Callison (.260 in 99 games) and Art Mahaffey (7-3 with a 2.31 ERA) also showed some promise.
Key events:  As famously reported, manager Eddie Sawyer quit after the Phillies dropped their first game of the season against the Reds, quipping, "I'm 49 years old and I want to live to be 50."  Coach Andy Cohen took over for the second game, and the Phillies hired Gene Mauch to manage the third game through the remainder of the season.  Mauch definitely would see his share of heartache during his tenure as Phillies manager.  Curt Simmons was released by the team in May only to be signed by the Cardinals a few days later.

1960 Phillies in 1960 Topps
1960 Topps #264 (Back)
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 35 Phillies cards in a complete 1960 Topps Phillies team set.  For a master set of Phillies Topps cards from 1951 through 1960, we're up to 208 cards.
Who’s in:  40 players suited up for the 1960 Phillies, and 30 of them are featured as Phillies in the 1960 Topps set.  The remaining five cards consist of a team card, a coaches card, a card for manager Sawyer, and cards for Sparky Anderson and Valmy Thomas who did not play for the Phillies in 1960.
Who’s out:  Regular shortstop Ruben Amaro was featured in the 1959 set, but he's not in the 1960 set.  The only other notable omission is pitcher Chris Short, who appeared in 42 games with the team.  Short would have to wait until 1967 for his rookie card as, I'm guessing, he just never signed a contract with Topps.  It would have also been nice to see a card for rookie Bobby Wine, who made it into four games in 1960.
Phillies on other teams:  Regular second baseman Taylor (#294) and catcher Cal Neeman (#337) were acquired from the Cubs in May for Ed Bouchee and Don Cardwell.  While center fielder Tony Gonzalez (#518) and third baseman Lee Walls (#506) were acquired from the Reds in June for Harry Anderson, Wally Post and Fred Hopke.  Future Red Sox manager Joe Morgan appears on card #229 with the Athletics.  He was purchased from the Atheltics by the Braves in August 1959 and then shipped back to the Braves in April 1960.  In June 1960, the Braves traded him to the Phillies for Al Dark.  The Phils kept him for a few months before selling him to the Indians in August.
What’s he doing here:  I don't know the timing of when Topps released each series of its baseball cards in 1960, so I'm guessing they didn't have enough time to update the Phillies manager card to Mauch in time for card #226.
Cards that never were candidates: Mauch, Taylor, Amaro, Short and Wine.
Favorite Phillies card:  None of the player cards really stand out, so I'll go with the Dallas Green rookie card as my favorite.  Green pitched in 23 games (starting 10), going 3-6 with a 4.10 in his rookie season. The coaches' floating heads card is a close runner-up.
1960 Topps #34, #138, #451

Other Stuff
Recycled:  Topps used this design for its 2009 Topps Heritage set - the first Heritage set since 2001 that I did not attempt to collect.  A year before, Topps used the 1960 Topps All-Star Rookies subset design for its insert set, 2008 Topps 50th Anniversary All-Rookie Team.
Blogs/Websites:  He's been quiet recently, but fellow Phillies fan Jim from Downington runs a blog detailing his "ramblings" on 1960s Baseball.
Did You Know?:  We've seen examples of this here and there so far with the Topps Phillies cards, but there are two Phillies cards in the 1960 set where Topps doesn't even try to cover up the fact the player is appearing is his previous team's uniform - Callison appears in his White Sox uniform and Ted Lepcio appears as a Tiger.
2009 Topps Heritage #334, #415, #563

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2009 Topps Heritage #607 John Mayberry, Jr.

Phillies 7, Orioles 5
Spring Training Game 23 - Saturday Afternoon, March 19th in Sarasota

One Sentence Summary:  Cole Hamels suffered from wildness early, but home runs from John Mayberry, Jr., Shane Victorino and Erik Kratz sealed the victory for the Phillies.

What It Means:  Another day, another mediocre performance from one of the Phillies' Four Aces.  Hamels walked three and surrendered three runs in the first before settling down a little.  He's now got a 6.23 ERA in five Spring Training starts.

Top Hitters:  Mayberry hit his team-leading fifth home run in the second to pull the Phils within a run of the Orioles.  I'd be shocked at this point if Mayberry didn't make the team.  Victorino went two for three with three RBIs, raising his average to .362.

Top Pitchers:  Danys Baez pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, lowering his spring ERA to 0.93.

Featured Card:  This is Mayberry's card from the 2009 Topps Heritage update set, which borrows its design from the 1960 Topps set.  (Stay tuned for more on the 1960 Topps set tomorrow.)  The card is a decent replica of the design original used, except for the Rookie Card eyesore plopped in the middle of the card.

Other Stuff:  I'm amazed I'm still doing these game summaries 23 games into the spring.  I guess I just like doing them.  I can't imagine a post recapping the results of an exhibition game is enthralling reading material for everyone else, but it's been fun for me so far.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2010 Multi-Ad Reading Phillies #16 Tuffy Gosewisch

Phillies 3, Pirates 2
Spring Training Game 22 - Friday Afternoon, March 18th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  Tuffy Gosewisch singled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to drive home the tying and winning runs as the Phils walked off against the Pirates, 3-2.

What It Means:  The Phils are now a respectable 14-8 this spring, despite a rash of injuries.  Roy Oswalt pitched six solid innings, allowing two unearned runs on five hits while striking out five.

Top Hitters:  Gosewisch's heroics were set up by back-to-back bunt singles from Ben Francisco and Pete Orr to start the ninth.  Orr had three hits, although it was his error in the third that set up the two unearned Pirates runs.

Top Pitchers:  Four pitchers who figure to be on the opening day roster pitched well this afternoon - Oswalt, Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson.  The order the pitchers appeared in the game could be an indication of things to come, especially if Brad Lidge doesn't rebound from his latest arm woes by the start of the regular season.

Featured Card:  I've said it more than once, and I'll say it again - Tuffy Gosewisch has an awesome baseball name.

Other Stuff:  Chase Utley (bad knee) took batting practice today and Lidge (bad biceps) threw a bullpen session . . . Radio broadcaster (and my favorite) Scott Franzke signed a four-year extension today taking him through the 2016 season with the Phils . . . Rumors are circulating that the Phillies might have some interest in the recently-released Luis Castillo.

Transactions:  The Phillies announced their second round of roster cuts -

Non-roster invitees re-assigned to minor league camp - infielder Jeff Larish, outfielder Brandon Moss, pitchers Dan Meyer, Juan Perez and Michael Stutes.

40-man roster players optioned to minor league camp - infielder Freddy Galvis and pitcher Vance Worley.

Twelve more cuts are coming, as the Phils will need to trim their now 37-man roster down to 25 by Opening Day.

2007 Upper Deck #883 Chase Utley

Blue Jays 7, Phillies 6
Spring Training Game 21 - Thursday Afternoon, March 17th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  Cliff Lee, wearing a green jersey, was lit up in the fourth and four Phillies home runs were not enough to overtake the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  The Phillies lost their first non-split squad game since March 5th, breaking a six-game winning streak.  Lee shut down the Jays in the first three innings before running into serious trouble in the fourth.  The Jays scored five runs against the lefty, thanks to an error by Josh Barfield to open the inning and then a double and two home runs.  Lee, who is now 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA this spring, sounded understandably frustrated in his post-game interview.

Top Hitters:  Shane Victorino, Michael Martinez, Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis all homered for the Phils.

Top Pitchers:  Perhaps both competing for the same opening in the bullpen, leftys Antonio Bastardo and Mike Zagurski each threw scoreless innings.

Featured Card:  Since the mid-1980's, the Phillies have taken the field on St. Patrick's Day donning green jerseys and caps.  The jerseys are collected after the game and then auctioned off for charity.  This 2007 Upper Deck card captures Chase Utley in game action most likely from St. Patrick's Day 2006.  Here's more on the green jerseys from last year.

Other Stuff:  Utley left the team briefly to see a specialist for his injured right knee . . . The Phils are rumored to be interested in Cardinals' outfielder Jon Jay according to Jayson Stark.

2011 Topps Opening Day #52 Placido Polanco

Phillies 13, Blue Jays 7
Spring Training Game 20 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 15th in Dunedin

One Sentence Summary:  Led by Wilson Valdez and Raul Ibanez, the Phils outslugged the Jays in Dunedin, 13-7.

What It Means:  I was travelling on Tuesday, so I didn't get a chance to listen to this game's broadcast or follow along on the internet.  But by the looks of the box score, it seems as if this was a wild game.  Heading into the eighth inning, the Blue Jays were ahead 7-6, thanks to a two-run triple from former Phillies prospect Anthony Gose.  The Phils scored five times in the eighth, capped by Valdez' bases clearing double, to re-take the lead for good.

Top Hitters:  Ibanez (two-run home run in the third), Ben Francisco (3 for 3 with a solo home run), Pete Orr (2 for 2 with 2 runs scored) and Michael Martinez (2 for 2 with 3 RBIs) all contributed to the offensive output.

Top Pitchers:  Joe Blanton surrendered seven hits in his four innings of work, but only two runs scored.

Featured Card:  I picked up the 2011 Topps Opening Day Phillies "master team set" on eBay, which features all Phillies regular base cards and inserts.  Opening Day is Topps' low-end offering for the year, featuring little glitz, not much glamour and previews of cards to appear in the flagship set's Series 2.  This card features two players who each had something to do with today's game - Placido Polanco (see below) and Blanton in a cameo role.

Other Stuff:  Polanco left the game in the second inning after hyper-extending his left elbow.  J.C. Romero was struck on his left hand by a sharp line drive in the seventh inning, but he ended up staying in the game.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1955-1959 Oddball Phillies Wantlist

1951 Berk Ross #2-10
1950-1954 Oddball Phillies Want List can now be found here.
1955-1959 Oddball Phillies Want List can now be found here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

1955 Red Man Tobacco #1 Richie Ashburn

I often fondly reminisce about my younger collecting days and walking the floor of the Ocean City Baseball Card Show held annually inside Ocean City's Music Pier.  There was one older guy who always set up at the front of the room, right by the door, and he wore a replica 1950's-style Phillies jersey every year.  As you could imagine, he always had a ton of cool Phillies stuff.  One of his many, many binders of Phillies baseball cards was inscribed with the legend - ODDBALL PHILLIES.  At the time, I had no idea what that meant, but my curiosity was definitely piqued.  So I started flipping through the binder, only to find an amazing assortment of tattoos, stickers, discs, rub-off cards, cards cut from cereal boxes, and every imaginable bizarre shape and size of non-standard (oddball) baseball cards.

I don't think I ever bought anything from his ODDBALL PHILLIES binder, but I wish I had.  Back then, I was focused on tracking down cards needed to complete my 1983 Topps set, or my Dad and I were trying to find the last few cards needed for our 1975 Topps set.

All these years later, and I'm starting to compile wantlists of those oddball cards, starting with the hardest to find (and most expensive) cards from the 1950s.  The Red Man Tobacco card presented here was the only Phillie to be found in the same Magic Box that contained the Original 44 of our 1956 Topps set.  It's missing the redeemable tab from the bottom, but it's still an awesome card.  If you click and enlarge the back, you'll see that the original owner must have clipped the tab in order to save up for a "BIG LEAGUE style baseball cap FREE!"  I'm hoping he or she gathered the other 49 tabs needed.

I'm going to put up a "wantlist" of 1950s oddball Phillies cards shortly.  I'm posting these lists more for my own reference, and not because I think someone will actually e-mail me and want to set up a trade to send me a bunch of Dixie Lids from the '50s.  However, if you happen to find any Dixie Lids or Armour Discs or Wilson Franks Phillies cards just lying around, I'd gladly give them a good home.

Monday, March 14, 2011

2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP29 Tyson Brummett

Phillies 7, Astros 6
Spring Training Game 19 - Monday Afternoon, March 14th in Kissimmee

One Sentence Summary:  Cole Hamels was touched for three solo home runs, but the Phils prevailed with a gift run in the ninth.

What It Means:  Hopefully Hamels was just working on some stuff today, because he didn't look very good.  In 3 2/3 innings, he allowed seven hits (3 homers, 2 doubles, 2 singles) and five runs.  He also brushed back Billy Hall after allowing a Carlos Lee home run in the second, prompting warnings from the umpire to both benches.  Michael Martinez scored the go-ahead and eventual winning run in the ninth when he singled, stole second and came around to score on a wild pitch.

Top Hitters:  Ross Gload had two more hits to raise his average to .406 for the spring, and John Mayberry, Jr. continued his hot streak with two more hits, including a double off former Phillie Nelson Figueroa.  Josh Barfield went 1 for 2 and drove in two runs.

Top Pitchers:  Scott Mathieson continued to make his case for a bullpen spot by striking out two in 1 1/3 shutout innings.  Antonio Bastardo impressed again, and he's now struck out six in his four innings this spring, without allowing a hit.  Wearing #94 and without his name on his back, prospect Tyson Brummett recorded the final two outs in the ninth for the save.

Featured Card:  I'm going to take a break from 1959 to feature a card of future Phillie Tyson Brummett.  I thought this was a cool exchange, as reported by CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury:

Brummett, a minor-leaguer called up to provide a little bullpen depth, was speaking with a reporter after the game when [Phillies manager Charlie] Manuel approached the pitcher’s locker.
Manuel motioned toward the reporter.
“He asked me if I knew your name,” Manuel told Brummett.
The manager smiled, stuck out his right hand, and told the pitcher, “I do now.”
Brummett beamed. This was his chance to impress and he did just that. Summoned into a one-run game with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, he threw five pitches – all strikes – and got Drew Locke to hit into a game-ending double play.

Other Stuff:  There's a reason why Brad Lidge's fastball has appeared much slower this spring.  Lidge has been diagnosed with biceps tendinitis and he skipped the trip to Kissimmee to receive treatment in Clearwater.  Both Lidge and pitching coach Rich Dubee downplayed the injury, stating it was just normal soreness.  (Queue the talk of Ryan Madson for closer . . . now.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

2008 Topps Heritage #278 Delwyn Young

Phillies 6, Twins 3
Spring Training Game 18 - Sunday Afternoon, March 13th in Fort Myers

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils exploded for six runs off Twins' closer Joe Nathan to cruise to victory, 6-3.

What It Means:  Of the regulars, only Ben Francisco made the 2 1/2-hour bus ride to Fort Myers this morning to take on the Twins.  The line-up consisted of mostly bench players, non-roster invitees and minor leaguers.  The game was also televised and yours truly may have actually napped between the second and fifth innings.

Top Hitters:  Delwyn Young's 3-run home run was the big blow off Nathan in the fifth.  Josh Barfield, Wilson Valdez (playing center field) and Michael Martinez also enjoyed multi-hit games.

Top Pitchers:  Top prospect Michael Stutes started and pitched three shutout innings, walking one and striking out one.  Danys Baez pitched another shutout inning.  He has yet to allow a run in 6 1/3 innings so far this spring.

Featured Card:  I'm still stuck in 1959.  Assuming Chase Utley begins the year on the disabled list, there are probably two roster spots open on the Phillies' bench.  Young seems to be the favorite at this point to make the team, especially given he can play both second base and right field.

Other Stuff:  In a minor league game in Clearwater, Roy Oswalt pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out six.

1950-1959 Phillies

1988 Pacific Legends #8, 1998 Upper Deck Richie Ashburn #1,
2007 SP Legendary Cuts #70, 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game #6
Before moving along to the Topps sets from the 1960's, I thought I'd take one last look back to the Phillies of the 1950's and their Topps baseball cards.

Decade MVPs
Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts run away with the honors.  With the exception of home runs and RBIs, Ashburn led the Phillies in every major offensive statistical category for the ten seasons between 1950 and 1959 - games (1,523), batting average (.313) runs (952), hits (1,875), doubles (252), triples (82), stolen bases (158) and walks (828).  Ashburn's 19 home runs were a little behind the top three home run hitters of the decade - Del Ennis (175), Willie Jones (159) and Stan Lopata (108).  And his 422 RBIs placed him fourth behind Ennis (765), Jones (657) and Granny Hamner (593).  Ashburn went to three All-Star Games during the decade and was the National League batting champ in 1955 and 1958.

Roberts led the team in every major pitching category - wins (199), complete games (237), shutouts (30), innings pitched (3,009.1), strikeouts (1,516) and ERA (3.32).  No other pitcher even came close to matching those numbers, although Curt Simmons, Bob Miller, Jim Konstanty and Russ Meyer show up in the top five of most of those categories.  Konstanty had the most saves during the decade with 45, but Roberts was actually fourth on the list with 19!

2010 Topps Tribute #33, 1992 Upper Deck Heroes Highlights #HI 7,
2004 eTopps Classic #ETC51, 2004 SP Legendary Cuts #100

1951-1959 Topps
The Breakdown:  141 baseball players wore the Phillies uniform between opening day in 1950 and the last game of the dreadful 1959 season.  Topps released 173 Phillies baseball cards in its main sets between 1951 and 1959, featuring 78 different players, 2 different manages, 2 coaches and 6 players who did not play a game for the Phillies during the decade.

Most Featured:  The following Phillies players (along with a team card) were represented the most in Topps' sets from 1951 to 1959:

8 cards - Ashburn, Hamner, Jones
6 cards - Roberts
5 cards - Ted Kazanski, Bob Miller, Simmons
4 cards - Lopata, Jack Meyer, Team Card

1980 TCMA Whiz Kids #22, #21, #23, #5

The Phillies Topps 60
What if Topps released a set of the top sixty Phillies cards from 1951-2010?  It's not likely, but I'll pick ten cards from each decade just in case Topps is looking for my opinion for this set's checklist.  You'll notice the sets from the 1950's with poor player selection or featuring a design I don't care for aren't represented - my set, my rules:

1 - 1951 Topps Blue Backs #8 Dick Sisler
2 - 1952 Topps #59 Robin Roberts
3 - 1952 Topps #357 Smoky Burgess
4 - 1953 Topps #88 Willie Jones
5 - 1953 Topps #146 Granville Hamner
6 - 1956 Topps #120 Richie Ashburn
7 - 1956 Topps #180 Robin Roberts
8 - 1956 Topps #220 Del Ennis
9 - 1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera ERR (no "a" on Herrara)
10 - 1959 Topps #338 George Anderson

Cards That Never Were Series
And what if Topps asked for my help in putting together a checklist for the Phillies cards that never were?  Of the 141 Phillies players from the 1950's, 78 made it onto Topps baseball cards as Phillies, while 63 players were never represented wearing the red pinstripes. 

There are three players with over 500 at-bats with the Phillies during the decade who didn't get a Topps Phillies card - first baseman Earl Torgeson, right fielder Mel Clark and second baseman Mike Goliat.  So they need Phillies cards, and they're all in the set.  As is second baseman Putsy Caballero, just because he has one of the greatest baseball names of all-time.  Steve Ridzik (105 games, 311.1 innings pitched) and Bubba Church (71 games, 394 innings pitched) will also be represented.  And I'd like to see a card of long-time Phillies coach Maje McDonnell, who spent 57 years with the organization as a coach, scout, batting practice pitcher and Veterans Stadium tour guide. 

I decided not to limit this to just ten cards per decade.  If there's a Phillies player, coach or manager who should have had a Topps baseball card in any given year, he's in my set:

1 - 1951 Topps Blue Backs Putsy Caballero
2 - 1951 Topps Red Backs Bubba Church
3 - 1951 Topps Red Backs Mike Goliat
4 - 1953 Topps Richie Ashburn
5 - 1953 Topps Robin Roberts
6 - 1953 Topps Del Ennis
7 - 1953 Topps Mel Clark
8 - 1953 Topps Steve Ridzik
9 - 1954 Topps Robin Roberts
10 - 1954 Topps Earl Torgeson
11 - 1954 Topps Terry Moore MG
12 - 1955 Topps Richie Ashburn
13 - 1955 Topps Robin Roberts
14 - 1956 Topps Elmer Valo
15 - 1956 Topps Marv Blaylock
16 - 1956 Topps Harvey Haddix
17 - 1956 Topps Maje McDonnell CO
18 - 1958 Topps Ed Bouchee
19 - 1959 Topps Chris Short
20 - 1959 Topps Eddie Sawyer MG

Stay tuned for more Phillies Topps cards as we're about to enter the 1960's.  It will be groovy.

1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #32, 1986 TCMA All Time Phillies #7,
1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes #41, 1983 Cramer Baseball Legends #94

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 Topps Heritage #249 Vance Worley

Phillies 11, Pirates 4
Spring Training Game 16 - Saturday Afternoon, March 12th in Bradenton

Rays 6, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 17 - Saturday Afternoon, March 12th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies won and lost today as split squads battled the Pirates and the Rays.

What It Means:  John Mayberry, Jr. and Vance Worley improved their chances of making the team while Kyle Kendrick struggled.  Kendrick looked fine until the third inning against the Rays, when he allowed back-to-back bombs to Ben Zobrist and Johnny Damon.  Before it was over, he would allow five runs in his four innings of work.

Top Hitters:  Against the Pirates, Pete Orr tripled to lead off the first and fourth innings, on his way to a 3 for 5 day.  Ross Gload also added three hits, while Mayberry and Cory Sullivan each drove in three runs.

Top Pitchers:  Worley started against the Pirates and cruised through the first three innings before allowing a home run to Lyle Overbay in the fourth.  He struck out five in his 3 1/3 innings of work.  Mike Zagurski added two shutout innings. 

2011 Topps Heritage #249 (Back)
Featured Card:  With a 4-year-old toddler and an 11-month-old baby, sometimes Saturday night means a trip to Target to do the grocery shopping for the week.  Not as crazy as Saturday nights used to be for us, but crazy nonetheless.  While making our way to the Star Wars aisle to see if our local Target had restocked yet from Christmas (they hadn't), Doug and I stopped at the baseball card aisle to see if there was anything interesting to be had.  Lo and behold, I found several blasters of 2011 Topps Heritage, along with rack packs and individual packs.  This Vance Worley card was the first Phillie pulled from the box.  Almost makes me wish I still collected the complete Topps Heritage set.  Almost.

And when did they stop putting gum into packs of Topps Heritage?

Other Stuff:  General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. signed a four-year contract extension this afternoon, taking him through the 2015 season . . . Former Phillie R.J. Swindle pitched a scoreless ninth innings for the Rays.